The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same

LOUISVILLE, KY--Having not attended the Kentucky Derby since American Pharoah won in 2015, I was reminded of why it's really worth the trip. Yes, one has to deal with the logistics. Limited parking, long walks to get to your destination, excessively priced hotels and car rentals, in addition to the singular hope that a Kentucky Derby Day ticket might miraculously have fallen into your hands. It's probably hard for some to understand just how many people converge in Louisville at the same time, creating something of a controlled chaos. The...

[ Read More ]
Encino Withdrawn from Kentucky Derby, Epic Ride Draws In

Godolphin homebred Encino (Nyquist), winner of the GIII Stonestreet Lexington S. at Keeneland Apr. 13, has been scratched from Saturday's GI Kentucky Derby. Trainer Brad Cox said that Encino will not run in the Kentucky Derby after being off after training Tuesday morning. Also-eligible Epic Ride (Blame), a longshot third for trainer John Ennis while making his dirt debut in the GI Toyota Blue Grass S. at Keeneland Apr. 6, will draw into the field. Encino will not run in the @KentuckyDerby per trainer Brad Cox. Also-eligible Epic Ride draws...

[ Read More ]
Sierra Leone Tops Saturday Derby Work Tab

GI Blue Grass S. winner Sierra Leone (Gun Runner) led a total of nine GI Kentucky Derby hopefuls on the work tab a week out from the Run for the Roses. Breezing in company with stablemate and fellow Derby hopeful Domestic Product (Practical Joke), the pair went five furlongs in 1:00.20 (15/58) through splits of :13, :24.80, :36.40 before galloping out in 1:13.20 and 1:26.20. "It [the work] was executed perfectly," said Chad Brown, the trainer for both workers. "I wanted them to a good five-eighths out in three-quarters but...

[ Read More ]
Forever Young Goes Six Furlongs At Churchill Amid Busy Derby Workers

With Derby week just around the corner, the morning work tab under the Twin Spires was chock full of participants Wednesday, but one Derby entry went further than the others. Susumu Fujita's undefeated Forever Young (Jpn) (Real Steel {Jpn}) worked six furlongs in 1:19.60 over a fast track. With jockey Ryusei Sakai aboard, the colt posted fractions of :14.80, :28.80, :42.60, :55.20, 1:19.60 and out seven furlongs in 1:33,60. He was joined for the last half-mile by Cuffed Candy (Candy Ride {Arg}), an unraced 3-year-old for trainer Dale Romans. "Thanks...

[ Read More ]
Breeding Digest: The Real Dazzle Behind Encino

His contentious prohibition from Churchill penalizes many others besides Bob Baffert and his loyal patrons. A shot at the GI Kentucky Derby, once-in-a-lifetime for most, is also being denied to everyone else with a stake in his horses' development, from those on duty at the foaling shed to the pre-trainer to the feed company. And, of course, there's nothing like a Derby winner to market a stallion. As things have turned out, a setback means that Nyquist would have lost the services of Nysos even had he moved to another...

[ Read More ]
Encino Takes to Dirt, Wires Stonestreet Lexington

Godolphin homebred Encino (Nyquist) took to dirt with aplomb, delivering a 3/4-length, wire-to-wire victory over favored The Wine Steward (Vino Rosso) in Saturday's GIII Stonestreet Lexington S. at Keeneland. With the win, good for 20 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, Encino is currently ranked 21st on the leaderboard with 40 points. "Ultimately (whether he starts in the Kentucky Derby) will be up to the Godolphin team--Dan Pride, Michael Banahan, Sheikh Mohammed--and if it's something they want to do, we'll prepare him," winning trainer Brad Cox said. "We'll...

[ Read More ]
Last Chance at the Big Dance: Hades Can Punch Kentucky Derby Ticket in Lexington

Saturday's GIII Stonestreet Lexington S. at Keeneland, the final stop on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, offers a path to Churchill Downs for the first Saturday in May for D. J. Stable and Robert Cotran's Hades (Awesome Slew). Currently on the outside looking in, Hades sits in 24th place on the leaderboard with 30 points. The GI Kentucky Derby is limited to 20 starters. The Lexington offers 42 points on a 20-10-6-4-2 scale. With a victory, Hades would be in the top 20. A runner-up finish would put him...

[ Read More ]
TDN Sophomore Top 12: Getting Ready To March Into Nine-Furlong Proving Grounds

We're at the two-month mark for the GI Kentucky Derby, and we're on the cusp of the major prep races getting extended to nine furlongs and beyond. Not all of the Triple Crown-caliber horses on this list, however, are pointing for the first Saturday in May. 1) NYSOS (c, Nyquist--Zetta Z, by Bernardini) 'TDN Rising Star'. O-Baoma Corp; B-Susie Atkins (KY); T-Bob Baffert. Sales history: $130,000 Wlg '21 KEENOV; $150,000 Ylg '22 FTKOCT; $550,000 2yo '23 OBSAPR. Lifetime Record: MGSW, 3-3-0-0, $216,600. Last start: WON Feb. 3 GIII Robert F....

[ Read More ]
Godolphin's Encino Gets By Epic Ride In John Battaglia Upset

Godolphin homebred Encino broke his maiden over course and distance Jan. 26 and parlayed that right into points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby with a win in Saturday night's John Battaglia Memorial S. at Turfway Park. Debuting as the beaten favorite, albeit by only a neck, over a mile on the Tapeta Dec. 29, the Brad Cox trainee stepped up with a gate-to-wire run second-time out in a better than it seemed half-length win. Sent at 5-1 Saturday behind race favorite Epic Ride, Encino broke nearly widest of...

[ Read More ]

Never miss another story from the TDN

Click Here to sign up for a free subscription.